Nearly 10,000 Christians gathered outside the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday morning for an Easter sunrise service to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The service was organized by the Capital Church of Vienna, Virginia, which has turned the celebration into a longstanding tradition in Washington, D.C.
According to Tera Goodman, the daughter of founding pastor Amos Dodge, her father happened upon the idea almost 40 years ago in 1979.
“He was walking the reflecting pool and had an idea this would be a great place for an Easter sunrise service,” she told WTTG. “What he thought was just an idea actually ended up becoming an assignment for our church now for 40 years.”
“Our very first year it started with just 120 people gathered here and now we do it every year, the crowds grow larger and larger and it’s a privilege to do this in our nation’s capital,” Goodman added.
The sunrise service has grown to the point where it is not only be a local favorite, but an event that people from all over the world attend.
Goodman said she and her husband, Travis, are always amazed by diversity of those worshiping every year.
In fact, the service has become so popular that it ranked fifth on the Washingtonian’s “Great Washington Bucket List.” The service has even been featured on the cover of The Washington Post.
“The crowds grow larger and larger and we feel it’s a privilege to do this in the nation’s capital, and to see all walks of life gather here,” Goodman said.
The diversity and size of the crowd are surely notable, but what’s most important, as Goodman’s father suggested, is that all believers can join in the commonality of their Christian faith.
“I think it is important to reclaim some of our own spiritual heritage and we do that from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and declare our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again,” Dodge once told The Christian Post.
Capital Church was founded by Dodge and his wife, Sue, and currently employs Travis and Tara Goodman as its lead pastors. Roughly 100 volunteers from the congregation help organize the Easter service.
The pastors, volunteers and attendees hold firm to the belief that the service, filled with music and an uplifting message, is one of the most unique ways to celebrate Easter.
“At the dawn of Easter morning from the heart of the city that influences the world, thousands will gather to declare, ‘Christ is risen, he is risen indeed!'” Dodge said prior to this year’s event.
“We will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus,” Dodge added. “And the message will not only ring on the Washington mall, it will be heard around the world.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.